Monday, April 26, 2010

House of Honey, or The "No Agave Here" House

Ohhh Sweet Honey! (honey at Cafe Bliss)

Something that my intuition and my body has always told me is now being confirmed by some of the very people who worked so hard to bring agave to the mainstream: agave is the worst “bandito” of all sweeteners!

I bought one bottle of agave about 4 years ago after seeing pictures on David Wolfe's site of a beautiful young woman pouring it down her throat, straight out of the bottle! I thought, wow, a sweetener that is so good for you that you can drink it like water!?

I tried it, I didn't like it at all. It tasted like corn syrup to me, and made me feel awful. So I went back to what I have always used and loved, honey. Over the years since then, I have had many opportunities to enjoy raw treats made with agave. While I do enjoy them in my mouth, everything after that point is a mess. Or should I say, I am a mess! Katrina + agave = basket-case. I feel edgy, anxious, hungry, grumpy, and all those unpleasant things that go along with blood sugar imbalance. So I do my best to avoid the stuff.

If you are still using agave in your household, please read the following articles and then go and pour it down the drain!

The Agave Blues by David Wolfe

This "Tequila" Sweetener is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup by Dr. Mercola

Agave Nectar, the High Fructose Health Food Fraud on Natural News

So, that brings me back to honey! I felt inspired to write a little ode to honey..... Honey is magical. Bees are magical. Flowers are magical. Eating honey makes me feel magical.

In Organic Farming and Beekeeping, it becomes a partnership between bee and honey farmer. The symbiosis is beautiful, and as a honey eater I feel tapped into a beautiful, life affirming circle. And, honey is LOCAL! We get our honey from Babe's Honey Farm, and it is beautiful, and it gives me a pleasant, gentle buzz.

And did you know that bees will produce up to 3 times the amount that they need to survive? In ethical beekeeping practices, both the bees and the honey eaters benefit.

I love visiting honey farms and listening to the hum of the bees. See if you can find a honey farm near you and start to visit whenever you need a little sweetness.

Honey is expensive (at least compared to conventional sugar) but in my mind this is a good thing. It just means we use less of it and are more careful of our consumption. When it comes to sweetener, a little mindfulness is a very good idea! It also means we are paying the honey farmer a living wage rather than paying pennies for sugar grown by people living in abject poverty in countries miles and miles away.

Of course there are other alternatives to sweeten you treats, and honey may not be the one for you. If you are working with blood-sugar issues such as diabetes or candida, you will want to be even more aware of your sweetener choices. The above articles do a good job at listing out other sweeties to choose from.

In closing, if you needed another reason to start buying organic, this might be it. Saving the Honey Bee Through Organic Farming.

I'd love to hear your experiences with agave, and what your household's sweetener of choice is!


Bronwyn said...

Katrina --

Yes, Agave is being cut with corn syrup -- however if you look at Kreatryx's Agave Nectar it's white and sans-corn syrup --

but equally, one must be cautious with honey -- as in Canada, honey can be cut with up to 10% corn syrup and it does not need to appear on the label --

I do not know if the same applies to organic honey...but it may to some of the big commercial suppliers!

And then to make matters worse -- 90% of our honey bees on Vancouver Island have died this year.....this has the potential to wreak havoc on our local agriculture!

xo Bronwyn in Victoria, BC

David and Katrina Rainoshek said...

Hi Bron!

Hmmmm, oh no! Honey being cut with corn syrup!??

I did know that about agave, yet I feel that even if it is NOT cut with corn syrup it is still a good idea to choose a different sweetener, even with the white stuff due to the high fructose content and heavy processing.

Yes, lets send some love to the bees! Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you soon! K.

Solar Oven said...

Magical post - thanks so much. It's local, organic honey all the way for me! The air miles scared me off of agave ... along with all the other factors. Fx

Wholesome said...

While we're not sure whose agave Mercola describes, Wholesome Sweeteners CEO Nigel Willerton wanted to address Mercola's assertions and clear the air about Wholesome's Organic Blue Agaves.

You might also be interested in as it relates to claims that our agave is cut with HFCS.

We appreciate the opportunity to comment.

Jim said...

Hi Katrina. Thanks for the great article, as well as the links to the other info. I don't use agave any more. But then again, I only use stevia. Keep up the great blog.

James Reno

d said...

oh, very much what i needed to hear. i am addicted to a product called coconut bliss, it is full of agave. hope i can find a packaged non dairy desert that is made with honey in the future

crowdancer said...

I have never felt well after having agave-sweetened foods either. I have been suspecting I am generally 'fructose-sensitive' for several years, and all the anti-agave press has confirmed my negative suspicions about agave and fructose.

I buy local honey products at my local farmer's market, the raw honey and bee pollen are like nothing I've ever tasted. They are like the nectar of the gods and make my body sing. Thanks for your lovely post:)

Debbie said...

I bought a gallon of the stuff and have gone through most of it as a smoothie sweetner before I heard there was a controversy. Ended up with two humdinger yeast infections this summer which I never get. Now wondering of course if this might have been the instigator. Thankfully, we were able to harvest our own honey this year, so I'm switching.